OSAKA (Kyodo) Plaintiffs involved in damages suits over side effects caused by the lung cancer drug Iressa plan to seek an amicable settlement, as recommended by the Tokyo and Osaka district courts last week.

At the courts, 15 people have sought a total of ¥180 million in compensation from the state and AstraZeneca K.K., the Japanese subsidiary of British drugmaker AstraZeneca, arguing the defendants knew of the dangers of the drug’s side effects but failed to take necessary measures to prevent damage to health.

The Tokyo and Osaka district courts Friday recommended a settlement, saying the state and the drug distribution firm involved are responsible for providing redress to patients and the next of kin of deceased patients.

After the meeting of the plaintiffs and their lawyers in Kyoto on Monday, Akio Chikazawa, a 67-year-old plaintiff, said: “I appreciate the court decision. I hope the state and AstraZeneca will sit down at the negotiating table immediately.”

Japan approved Iressa and put it on the market in July 2002, becoming the first country to import the drug. More than 800 people have died due to side effects from the drug, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

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